Atlanta based power thrashers Paladin released their debut album Ascension through Prosthetic Records last year, which they quickly followed up with the release of the 3-track Nevermore covers EP Anamnesis last year in December, also through Prosthetic Records, marking 2019 as a stellar year for the 4-piece. Interesting to find out more about the band’s influences we asked guitarist and vocalist Taylor Washington about three records that have influenced the band the most.
Dream Theater – Images and Words
This was my introduction to progressive metal and “virtuoso” guitar playing. The whole thing really blew me away – vocals, keyboards, all the instrumentation, songwriting, atmosphere. The way they could blend crazy technicality and complex time signatures and compositional ideas but still keep it interesting and melodic and catchy. The rest of Dream Theater’s catalogue is hit or miss for me, but this album remains my favorite not only of theirs but of all time, period.
Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper
I had read about Children of Bodom in Guitar World and other magazines while I was in high school, with people calling them “blackened power metal” and heaping tons of praise towards Alexi for his guitar work. I was getting way into power metal at the time so that really intrigued me. One of my friends eventually burned me a copy of Follow the Reaper and I was hooked. I don’t really agree with the “blackened” description, but a lot of Follow the Reaper and Hatebreeder does feel like power metal with harsh vocals. The vocals were never my bag, but the abundance of melody paired with the heavier, thrashy riffing and twin guitar/keyboard leads was fucking awesome. I draw a lot of inspiration from Bodom for the stuff I write for Paladin.
Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor
I guess my choices are proof that the first album you hear from a band will often leave the strongest impression. Just like the other two albums were my introductions to their respective bands, This Godless Endeavor was my introduction to Nevermore. Loomis and Smyth are both beastly guitarists, but what really sold me was the songwriting and the RIFFS. This album has, pound for pound, some of the strongest riff game out there. And there are no weak tracks to be found. It was also largely responsible for me switching exclusively to 7 strings for a few years back in the day. Loomis himself recently complimented me on the Nevermore covers we did for our Anamnesis EP, which was a big “holy shit!” moment for sure.